Do We Stand, Then, For Nothing?

Am I saying that a Spirited Reasoner must stand for nothing important?  I mean, does someone like me have to wait until someone else takes a stand before I know what I stand for myself?

I believe Aristotle would have suggested that we (a) identify a set of basic virtues, knowing why we have chosen each virtue (b) understand that when taken to extremes, each virtue can become a vice, and (c) like studio sound mixers determining the volume level of each track, we adjust the level of each virtue to a given situation, so that the application of a set of virtues maximizes the overall good.

Perhaps an example will make my point:

Honesty is perhaps my most valued virtue.  But honesty can conflict with compassion if I exercise it indiscriminately.  If, for example, a four-year-old child shows me her latest crayon drawing and asks me what I think of it, pure honesty might cause me to blurt out that “It looks like a a bunch of chicken scratches!”  and my cruel statement might reduce a sensitive child to tears.  But if, on the other hand, I allow my compassion too much free rein, I might blurt out something along the lines of “Wow!  That’s a masterpiece!  You’re an amazing artist!”  And my compassion might lead this child to the false belief that great art can be achieved without effort.  So, instead, I believe a Spirited Reasoner should “mix” honesty with compassion and say something along the following lines:  “Wow!  If you keep practicing your art this way, you could be an amazing artist when you grow up!”  (Or something like that.  You get the point.)  My goal in this situation was to find the proper balance between two competing virtues:  honesty and compassion.

As a Spirited Reasoner, I am always looking for that sweet spot in every situation I deem to be important, balancing virtues until I’m convinced I’ve done my best to make the world a better place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *